Long day and, aquarium status

Oh, it’s good to come home!

My mother needed to do some errands, so today I took her car and chauffeured her around. She had some errands in her own town, but she also wanted to visit her sister in the nursing home in the town closer to our place, so we did that as well. This worked out, because I needed to do some errands in town, too. After another errand for her in town, we were able to stop for lunch, too. It was a lot of in-and-out of the car for my mom, and at some points, she just used the car cane (one that always stays in her car) instead of me dragging the walker out of the back.

For someone coming up on 90, and uses a walker or a cane, my mother does not slow down for much!

Before taking her home, we headed to our little hamlet, stopping to visit family at the cemetery for a while, then a short stop here at the farm. She wanted to see the repaired gates in person. 🙂

We took a quick tour around the yard and I showed her where I’ve been working lately. After she noted how poorly the cherry trees are doing there, I made sure to show her the ones next to the house. I took this picture this morning, before heading out.

We tasted some, and she let me know that they are a sour variety, and they won’t be getting any sweeter than they are now. They are ready to pick.

Not right away, though.

32C, feels like 36C – and this was taken at about 4pm! It was even warmer, when she was here. I’ll be waiting for it to cool down a bit before going out to pick cherries and raspberries. It’s almost half past 5 as I write this, and the temperatures are still unchanged!

Much of where we walked through was well shaded, and she commented on how park-like things are starting to look – which is my goal! I can’t help but shake my head, hearing her say this, when last year she was giving me heck about the stuff she thought I was doing – namely, killing all her trees – while I tried to explain to her that I was cleaning it up to the park-like state it was before it became so overgrown and so many trees had died. I don’t think she remembers any of that at all. At least she’s saying positive things now. I’ll take what I can get!

It was a long day for her, though, so she didn’t want to linger. It was a pretty good visit, overall, but things are always draining with my mother.

Once I was back, one of the first things I needed to do was check on our aquarium, and see if I’d killed our fish off or not. !!

I did a water change in our aquarium in the spring. The water promptly turned completely green and murky with algae. An affect of spring runoff on our well water (we had this happen to us in the city a couple of times, except the water turned milky white instead of green. Also, it’s much more difficult to deal with in a 300 gallon tank, than our current 20 gallon tank!). I’d tried changing up more water since then, but the algae just wouldn’t go away.

It finally got to the point that the murky water was killing off our plants. We could hardly even see the fish anymore, either. This tank is oxygenated by plants only, but I had started to use our portable aerator to supplement it.

Until it accidentally fell into the water.

It doesn’t work anymore.

So…

While in the city yesterday, I was finally able to swing by a shop and pick up new plants.

My plan had been to take the fish out into another container, remove the remaining plants, take out all the water, scrub the tank, heater and filter clean of algae and any mineral buildup (we have very hard water), put the new plants in, along with any surviving old plants, and have completely fresh water for the fish.

Several hours before I started, I filled a container of water to move the fish into, then left it to get to room temperature.

When it came time to work on the tank, I caught our two remaining fish – our second algae eater has disappeared completely – and put them into the water I’d prepared for them, then continued working on the tank.

Moments later, I noticed the algae eater dropping to the bottom of the container, on its back.

Touching the container, I realized the water was still well-water cold! The fish were going into shock.

I quickly dumped the whole thing into the tank. The neon tetra swam off, but the algae eater just sank to the bottom. I could see his gills going, though, so I continued to work on the tank.

I wasn’t about to torment them by trying to take them out of the tank again, so I just did a partial water change. It’s recommended that a maximum of 20% water change be done, but I did about 50%.

The algae eater did start swimming around and sticking his mouth parts onto the glass, so that was encouraging.

I added the new plants in, spacing them in such a way that they will block the natural sunlight, somewhat. Next to the kitchen window is the only place was have for the tank right now, but natural like encourages algae growth, so it’s not ideal. These new plants should get taller and, hopefully, create nice hiding places for the fish, and help control reduce future algae blooms.

Then I started adding new water to the tank.

Since I wasn’t able to clean it at thoroughly as I intended, no matter how gently I tried to add the water, clouds of “dust” from the substrate were disturbed.

The water went from murky green to murky brownish.

By morning, when I fed the fish, it was much better. I couldn’t see the algae eater, though, and didn’t have time to look until I got home.

There he is!

You can see him against the glass in the back (among the reflections).

Those fern-like fuzzy plants as actually a deep green. They are all covered with a coating of that “dust” that was floating in the water.

Both fish are actively swimming and seeming to really enjoy their new hiding places!

Once the plants are well established, we’ll be adding a few more fish to improve the oxygen/CO2 balance.

I can’t believe how clear that water is now. There is no sign of the green algae left at all! Not even on the glass I wasn’t able to scrub as well as I’d wanted to.

Though it’s only been a day, I’m going to go change the filter now. It certainly did its job!!

And the next time I want to do a major water change, I’ll pay more attention to the calendar and to it before or after spring thaw, not during!

The Re-Farmer

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